Election Automation: Stalemate or Checkmate?

I am a Filipino. I am proud of being one. I love my country so I make it a point to be of service in any way I can. I follow the law. I don’t bend the rules. And I try to be a good example to others by making a difference setting aside too much complaining. This makes life less complicated. It’s as simple as examining a situation, planning a course of action and executing it in the end. And everything works out fine. But it does not. Maybe most things in life are not that simple or a lot of us choose to complain a hell lot more…

Take for instance the automated elections… I, for one, think it’s awesome! It’s a breakthrough in our maturity as voters, an improvement in contrast to the manual system and a realization of our sovereignty as a people. There have been so many discussions about this topic since 2010 and, up to now, some are still crabby, grouchy, techy, and unreasonable (?) or let’s just say disagreeable in a whole lot of aspects of the very famous PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scanner) machine. Our I.T. nerds (?) geeks (?) or Specialists, for that matter, think it’s but a sham. The ordinary Filipino does not even understand what all of them are talking about. All we know is that we shade the blank circle opposite our chosen candidate/s using the black inked pen which each SBEI (Special Board of Election Inspector) provides every voter. Then our votes are automatically counted at the end of the day, thus, informing us the winning candidate/s the following day. Isn’t that amazing?

I was once an OAV (Overseas Absentee Voting) Volunteer who experienced the high-tech brains of the PCOS in 2010. I have had no problems about it except for some minor mishaps and machine malfunctions. But I can definitely attest to (Andres Bonifacio and even) our forefathers that these setbacks have definitely no effect to its accuracy and efficiency. But if and when we encounter any serious trouble with the machine, we can always call on the Support Technician/s. Or, surely folks, we can all go back to basics – we open the ballot boxes and count the ballots manually.

Wait! There’s one more mind-boggling issue that meets the eyes of our “grumps” – transmission. I guess I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time since we never encountered any difficulty in our transmission to Manila from Hong Kong. But far as my ears can hear such murmurs from others, it seemed that some oblivious human beings are jamming the signals of, if not all, some networks. Needless to say, the modem/s used in transmission depends mainly on these networks. Well, only in the Philippines!!! Still, we can go back to basics – it’s a phone call away. Plus, we have the SBOC (Special Board of Canvassers)…

See, there is always room for solutions. There will always be a back-up plan. Our journey to election automation takes its next voyage on May, 2016. So, for heaven’s sake, please give it a chance. The lesser we complain, the better there is life to offer…

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